xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Harford County executive vetoes County Council’s redistricting map

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has vetoed the County Council’s redistricting map, passed earlier this month, he said in a statement released Monday.

“My main concern is the transparency of the action,” Glassman said when reached by phone.

Advertisement

Passage of the redistricting map garnered backlash after the final version deviated from the recommendations of the council-appointed redistricting commission. Glassman said in his statement he’d received similar concerns from several constituents, including members of the NAACP and other groups.

The Harford County NAACP released a statement on its Facebook page earlier this month calling for Glassman to issue a veto, saying the council’s action “contravenes long-standing principles of transparency codified in the Open Meetings Act, and de-legitimizes democratic self-government.” After Glassman’s announcement, the branch posted “WE DID IT,” and several members signaled their approval.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“It remains our hope that the Redistricting Commission’s map, which reflects the demographics of the county’s communities and interests, and which was developed after extensive public input, debate and deliberation, will be adopted,” Harford County NAACP President Vicki Jones said in a statement.

The council voted on Dec. 7 to approve the map. One of the main concerns was that this version left the municipalities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace in separate districts, after the commission agreed to their campaigns to combine them in one district. The two cities’ councils said their proposal was a more “compact and contiguous” map than the current one.

The City of Havre de Grace then filed suit Dec. 8 against the county and members of the County Council “over violations of the Maryland Open Meetings Act and County Charter Section 205 Redistricting Procedure.” Glassman said he is named in the suit.

Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin said he was “pleased” with Glassman’s veto.

Advertisement

“What County Executive Glassman did today affirmed what the [cities] of Havre de Grace and Aberdeen believed was a good map that represented the will of people, not the will of the council,” Martin said.

Martin said the goal of the original proposed map was to guarantee County Council representation from a “higher populated area such as Route 40.″ The Harford County NAACP said it supports the Havre de Grace lawsuit.

Glassman said he had until this Wednesday to take action on the bill, and that a veto is something he’s used sparingly over his two terms as county executive. He wants the council to “provide some more public comment to take care of some of these concerns.”

County Council President Patrick S. Vincenti acknowledged Glassman’s veto authority, but did not say whether the council will hold a vote to override the action at its next meeting on Jan. 4.

The county charter requires five council members to override a veto. The map was approved by a vote of 6-1. The council’s lone Democrat, Andre V. Johnson, cast the only vote against the map.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement